Statistically speaking, this is a horrific mismatch.
In four games, Houston has scored an average of 52 points per game; they’ve given up an average of 31 per game but half that came in their loss to Texas Tech.
In the same four game span, Tulsa has only surrendered 29 points per game, but they’ve also yet to score more than 21 against an FBS opponent.
Additionally, I had the chance to watch Tulsa on a weeknight last week on the road against Temple, and I saw an offensive line that was horribly overmatched as well as a quarterback in Luke Skipper that had no clue what to do any time he was forced to scramble.
You may have heard of a pass rusher for Houston, some dude named Ed Oliver? The Cougar defense has already racked up at least four tackles for loss and one sack in each game so far. Oliver has five tackles for loss and no sacks just yet, but his partner in crime Isaiah Chambers has 6.0 and 4.5 of his own, respectively.
Temple has a decent pass rush, but they have nobody as good as Oliver or Chambers, and the Golden Hurricane struggled mightily for four quarters. Temple has a good rush offense and a decent pass offense, and Tulsa had a hard time keeping them out of the red zone. Houston doesn’t run much but can pass circles around you.
I think you get where this is going, right? This was a mismatch in Houston’s favor a month ago, and it’s even more so now.
I apologize for being so down on Tulsa, but that game against Temple was a disorganized mess. I give credit to their defense for only losing 31-17 in a game where their opponent scored two defensive touchdowns (aka the defense didn’t lose the game).
But Luke Skipper and his offensive line looked woefully unprepared and/or overmatched, and if it’s the latter that’s only going to be more apparent this week.
Skipper also has a pretty drastic split early on:
- Two home games: 34-for-51 (66.6%), 368 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT; 22 carries, 52 yards, 1 TD
- Two road games: 34-for-65 (52.3%), 348 yards, 1 TD, 5 INT, 28 carries, 101 yards
At home, Skipper has been a sufficiently accurate passer who barely runs outside of his lone touchdown. On the road, he’s a wildly inaccurate passer who can’t decide when to scramble (but tends to have success when he does).
This week, he is on the road, against a better pass rush than the one that made the Tulsa offense look foolish last week, and against an opposing offense that will probably force him to pass to catch up a lot sooner.
None of these things bodes well for Tulsa’s odds of even covering the 17.5-point spread, let alone winning the game.